What the successful completion of the 2+2 Dialogue signifies - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

What the successful completion of the 2+2 Dialogue signifies

Apr 25, 2022 05:51 PM IST

It demonstrates that India and the US can work together despite their differences in these key areas

The 2+2 Dialogue between United States (US) secretary of state Antony Blinken and secretary of defense Lloyd J Austin and India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh and foreign minister S Jaishankar on April 11 provided a platform for the two countries to reaffirm the strength of their “partnership” at a time when the India-US relationship has been under pressure due to India’s neutral position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A collaborative tone for the dialogue was set by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, in their hour-long virtual summit, stressed their commitment to working together on a range of issues (PTI) PREMIUM
A collaborative tone for the dialogue was set by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, in their hour-long virtual summit, stressed their commitment to working together on a range of issues (PTI)

A collaborative tone for the dialogue was set by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, in their hour-long virtual summit, stressed their commitment to working together on a range of issues. Following the summit, Biden tweeted, “We committed to strengthening our defense, economic, and people-to-people relationship together to seek a peaceful and prosperous world.”

While the official communications were positive, the communication before and after the meetings was not quite so much. Before the dialogue was convened, Indian American Daleep Singh, the deputy national security advisor for international economics and deputy director of the National Economic Council warned New Delhi of consequences if it engaged in sanctions-busting trade activities with Russia. Predictably, Singh’s remarks were not well received in India. Jaishankar has repeatedly pointed out that India’s dependence on Russian oil pales in comparison to that of Europe.

Several factors influence India’s not speaking out regarding Russia’s war on Ukraine: A large section of Indians remember how the erstwhile Soviet Union, Russia’s predecessor, consistently sided with India at many critical junctures during its various conflicts with Pakistan, and New Delhi’s reliance on Moscow for much of its defence needs makes Russia a valuable resource provider for India.

Since the end of the Cold War, India’s relationship with Russia had not been an issue in its bilateral relations with the US. This will no longer be the case going forward. It was against this backdrop that the 2+2 Dialogue was held in Washington.

Despite the camaraderie during the get-together, differences between the two sides did come out after the session. Following President Biden’s summit with PM Modi, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “The President has made clear that he does not believe it’s in India’s interest to accelerate or increase imports of Russian energy and other commodities.”

Though they did not discuss human rights during the dialogue, the two sides sparred on the sidelines on the issue. Blinken voiced concerns about India’s recent human rights record on April 11, stating: “We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values [of human rights] and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials.”

On April 13, just before returning to New Delhi, Jaishankar said: “People are entitled to have views about us…. We also are entitled to have views about their lobbies and vote banks. We will not be reticent. We also have views on other people’s human rights, particularly when it pertains to our community.”

These remarks by the top diplomats of the two countries are a clear indication that the issue of human rights remains on the table for both nations. So, too, does India’s relationship with Russia and its stance on Ukraine.

Nonetheless, the successful conclusion of the 2+2 Dialogue demonstrates that India and the US can work together despite their differences in these key areas. There was a concern among some in both New Delhi and Washington that India’s position on the Ukraine war might jeopardise Quad — the four-nation group of democracies that also includes Australia and Japan. Now, after the talks, one can safely say that Quad is alive and well.

Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic leader, and thought leader based in Washington DC The views expressed here are personal

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 22, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On